Season 9, Episode 213: The Foresight Saga
Original Air Date: 4/13/81
Written by: Dennis Keonig
Directed by: Charles S. Dubin
Col. Potter convenes a meeting of the staff in his office to deliver some nice news: in his hands is a letter from...Radar!
Radar says he's become quite a success as a farmer, how much he misses everyone, and how he all hopes they'll get to come home soon, too.
While handing the letter to Father Mulcahy, Klinger accidentally breaks Col. Potter's glasses. Potter, now sans both pairs (Klinger broke those, too), tells Klinger to get the I-Corps optometrist to the 4077th, pronto.
Afterwards, Hawkeye, B.J., and Col. Potter have lunch, and for once there's actually decent food to eat: fresh cole slaw, made by a young Korean boy named Park Sung (Rummel Mor), as a way to pay the doctors back for taking care of his grandmother.
Park Sung is a whiz at farming, and he even has a guide to growing crops given to him by a G.I. But Park Sung's glasses are so beaten up that its hard for him to read it, or anything. Hawkeye wonders if the optometrist can make Park Sung new glasses as long as he'll be at the camp.
The optometrist, Dr. Herzog (Phillip Sterling) arrives, and arranges for new pairs of glasses for both Potter and Park Sung. He's a bit flummoxed when Margaret bluntly flirts with him, but it turns out its all a ruse: Margaret has been having some trouble with her eyes, and she's sensitive about it, so she pretends she's there on romantic grounds.
Herzog comforts her that she's suffering from a mild allergy, nothing serious. Margaret is still concerned that her eyes aren't getting any better, that she's noticeably aging, but Herzog comforts her, and they become friends. They decide to twist the knife on Hawkeye and B.J., and spend an evening at the O Club together, only to leave early. When Margaret picks up a basket of pretzels, Hawkeye asks why she's taking them. "Because", she says, lustfully, "I don't smoke."
Meanwhile, Park Sung is wounded by artillery staying behind to defend his land, even after his family have left to go further south. Luckily, his wounds are minor, but now he has no family, no "home" to go home to. Hawkeye and B.J. put him up in the Swamp until he decides what to do next.
That night, everyone starts reminiscing about Radar, and they decide to give him a call. Col. Potter ends up speaking to Radar's mother, who admits that things, in fact, are not going all that well on the farm: crops are bad, and they don't have enough money to hire help, leaving Radar to do all the work himself, followed by a night job at the county store.
They all try to decide what they can do to help Radar, and then Park Sung walks in, asking about his pet rabbit, who appears sick. One by one, they all get the idea to send Park Sung to Iowa to go live with the O'Reillys. Park Sung loves the idea, and soon after they throw him a goodbye party, complete with gifts.
One of the gifts is a Korean-English dictionary, and Park Sung uses it to say all this is..."terrific."
Fun Facts: One of M*A*S*H's greatest writers, Everett Greenbaum, once said something to the effect of that it was a great show, "Until everyone became so damn nice to one another." Arguments can be made about the truth of that, but when I read that quote, I think of this episode. Its a fine show, but everyone is so unbelievably nice to one another that there's virtually no conflict in the entire 23+ minutes.
On the other hand, considering how debased and mean-spirited TV would become in just a few short years, complaining about a show that's too nice does seem a bit churlish.
Favorite Line: After Klinger breaks Potter's glasses, Father Mulcahy says surely he has another pair. Potter, through gritted teeth, asks Klinger if he wants to tell Father Mulcahy what happened to those.
Klinger: "I broke those last week...but you gotta admit, Colonel, I really nailed that fly good!"